Asteroid Day 2015: NASA Is Busy Tracking ‘Doomsday’ Scenarios, Hoaxes And Near-Earth Objects
It’s Asteroid Day 2015, and experts and space agencies around the world want to raise awareness of potentially hazardous objects.
NASA has a Near-Earth Object (NEO) Program which tracks asteroids and comets using its Sentry collision monitoring system. With all the chatter about “doomsday” asteroids that could end life as we know it, what are the real odds of such an event?
The easy answer is slim-to-none. There were reports floating around that an asteroid that would hit Earth in September, but said asteroid doesn’t exist and NASA has repeatedly debunked those claims.
NASA and the European Space Agency have NEO tracking programs that are capable of detecting any threat. Additionally, NASA launched its Grand Asteroid Challenge to discover any possible threats, and there are even private organizations, such as the B612 Foundation, that are hunting these objects.
There are many asteroids that come close to Earth with no impact threat. One asteroid will make a close approach to Earth on July 7 at the safe distance of 3 million miles. Another asteroid, however, will pass much closer that day — asteroid 2015 HM10 — at distance of 275,000 miles from Earth. That’s just outside of lunar orbit, but you’ll probably hear some scary news leading up to it.
If you think asteroids near Earth are uncommon, you’d be quite surprised to see NASA’s list of close approaches. July will average just over 1 close approach per day — with several days seeing two close approaches and July 7 seeing four. Many of these asteroids are millions of miles from Earth and are no threat to humanity.
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